Monday, June 27, 2011

One year later.

It's been one year since I went to Ireland. One year since I got on a plane and left everything familiar and easy. It was the summer following the worst year of my life. After losing my Dad, my junior review, dealing with a break-up (one that didn't end particularly well to say the least) This was something I've always wanted to do and yet, a small part of me couldn't help but be reminded by that nagging feeling beneath it all that I was just running away from everything. Running from school work, Grand Rapids, Downriver, and America entirely.

That last statement perhaps makes it seem like I wasn't super excited, because trust me I was. I could not wait, my friend Mike and I were all smiles and upon meeting everyone else in our group it only got better and better.

Mike and I in one of the national parks.

Once I got there, I experienced the crazy mix of old and new that, in a way, reminded me of myself. The buildings and the city, somehow mixed traditions with the technologies of today , it was perfect. On this trip I met some of the most amazing people, it reminded me just how many people there are in the world. Reinforced the idea that no matter where I end up, I will most likely always be able to meet people I can consider family.

The whole AHA Study Abroad Group

This trip taught me to branch out of my comfort zone. I started to enjoy walks home by myself, stopping to get a Pain Au Chocolate and bitterly strong coffee with The Smiths blaring through my headphones. I learned to open up and talk about my Dad, I met friends who reminded me constantly that I was an awesome person and deserved the best. Of course I learned about an awesome country, got to see the country and the city. Watched some amazing films and read about the legends and heros of old Ireland. The trip taught me to slow down, we as Americans don't think about that sometimes. We live in a society that wakes up, runs around like mad until we pass out at night. We barely sit and talk to each other anymore, much less have a meal and share stories of our day. I was told to unplug. *For the record, I also went out, watched futbol games, danced in the street to traditional music, drank beers on the pier, there was no lapse in busy nights that's for sure.

The gang in Dublin.

Now it's been a year later. I've managed to graduate with a BFA from Grand Valley. I ran my school's AIGA Student Chapter, made numerous projects out of cupcakes, joint-curated a poster show, and survived (barely) my Senior Thesis project. I made (and lost, as life will always have downs to manage the ups) new friends. Now, as I sit in a coffee shop in downtown Grand Rapids with the rain coming down outside, as it has so often lately it seems, I'm thinking about last summer's big adventure. The question I seem to ask myself frequently these days is, what comes next? Now with college over and numerous applications out in the graphic design universe, it's hard to see the horizon. I find myself getting discouraged quickly. Graduation brought with it a lot of concerns. Where should I live? How do I pay for rent? What if I can't find a job? I think the thing I always have to remember is that you can never let yourself stop attempting to do the things you love. If you want to go somewhere, do it, figure the details out later. You're only young once. (Easier said than done it seems) What I must do is look back on my last big adventure with fond memories, but always be looking forward to the exciting thing to come.

To the little land of green: I miss you, thanks for everything.
In good reminiscing fashion, here's some of my favorite Ireland posts!
First day/night in Dun Laoghaire a Trip with the whole group to Connemara
A lot of good food from the World Cultures Festival and drinks from the Guinness factory.
Oh! and can't forget about my London weekend with Mike! We apparently learned we didn't need sleep.
Lastly, a post about small reminders and goodbyes.


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